Pico de Orizaba

Pico de Orizaba
Taken from Huatusco, Veracruz, the closest town to Margarita's family's ranch.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Vitamin D Deficiencies; Something You Should Know

I wrote the original piece on my discussion "Concerns About Malabsorption". While writing I decided that many more people should know about the health risks caused by vitamin D deficiency; the "symptoms" or the issues/ailments tend towards being seen as separate from the actual deficiency. That being so, other very serious ailments will appear if the deficiency is untreated.

Forgive me if I repeat myself or if I haven't responded to your comment... The past few days I've been "embroiled" in a frenetic search for information and solutions to my Vitamin D deficiency. You may say, "just go out into the sun..." or "take some suppliments" or "drink a glass of milk"... Or "you live in Mexico, you shouldn't have a Vitamin D deficiency..." Or it's probable you wonder what's the big deal... Yeah, what's the big deal? I imagine most doctors don't understand that there's a big deal, especially here in Mexico where it seems there is a "conspiracy" against allowing adequate Vitamin D suppliments onto the market. "Now, why would they do that?" you may ask. If I succeed in writing this adequately, you should understand why it's in the doctor's (especially the cardiologists) and the pharmaceutical industry's best interest to keep the suppliment off the market. 

When you think about healthy bones and children and issues of calcium deficiency connected with Menopause and Osteoporosis, I imagine you only think of Calcium. Ok, if you are a middle-aged woman in the U.S./Canada and Northern and Western Europe, I imagine this will not come as news for you... Who knows? Your body cannot absorb Calcium without Vitamin D. So, if you have a vitamin D deficiency, you should have a Calcium deficiency. When you have a calcium deficiency, your body removes calcium from your bones in order to meet muscle and nerve cell requirements (among others), leading to osteoporosis, fragile and malformed bones. Have you heard of cradle cap in newborn or recently born babies? My wife is from a very poor farm community in the mountains of Veracruz where all babies are breast fed for at least a few years. When I mentioned this... to her, she replied that all the babies have cradle cap and that it's because the mothers are afraid to wash their scalps due to the softness of the front of their skulls and that cradle cap is just dirtiness that she always scrubbed off her siblings... Now, here's the news for you recent mothers, aunts and grandmothers in the recent push for breast-feeding in public etc... (forgive the poor writing, since it's really just a movement for helping women [and men] become comfortable with breast feeding etc...) Although breast feeding helps babies with the development of their immune system because they receive the anti-bodies of their mother, without giving the babies formulas and/or fortified milk, the babies will automatically have a vitamin D deficiency that leads to cradle cap...)

Vitamin D regulates blood pressure. Vitamin D deficiencies cause hypertension and can lead to heart disease and kidney malfunction. 

As I imagine you remember, I went to a GI about 3 weeks ago. I was experiencing abdominal discomfort I thought was connected with my gall stones and also a new discomfort in the region of my left kidney. The GI didn't want to do an Upper Endoscopy, said that all J-Pouchers are B12 deficient, prescribed a Vitamin B12 injection and said that I was hypertensive that he believes could be found in the region of the kidney. He connected me with a cardiologist who put me on BP medication... The day after injecting myself with B12 I experienced horrible fatigue in my calves and then in my calves and feet and then also in my thighs first at mid run (about 1.2 miles/2 kms) and then at the beginnings of the runs... The reason I went to the GI in the first place was because Gardner's Syndrome can affect the small intestine. How? Truthfully it is very difficult to find information about Gardner's Syndrome because we are such a small test group... However, my last upper endoscopy showed inflamation of my duodenum (duodenitis) explaining a slight iron malabsorption problem... So, I figured the problem could have increased. Until this GI informed me of the J-Pouch causing malabsorption problems since the Ileum supposedly ceases absorbing the B vitamins, I never thought much of malabsorption... The sudden and drastic muscle fatigue along with the new information sent me into a scramble for information about the J-Pouch, Ileum and other related deficiencies (and is what ultimately caused my joining [again] the J-Pouch community...) What could be causing this fatigue? How horrible for me, trying to lose weight and truly become healthy approaching middle age (I've always put my health way behind 2nd...) The GI's contempt for "educating" oneself through the internet was very clear when he scoffed at my "research" on the internet (although that's how I "healed" myself 7 years ago and how I removed the gall bladder problem without removing the gall bladder) and said, "95% of what you read on the internet is garbage, and said that he is sure that part of my high blood pressure is from all the misinformation I find on the internet and the obsession with seeking..." 

Ok, I know this is getting very long. My concern about "American" short attention span ADHD theater... 

Against my doctors' silence, I went to a local laboratory and asked for blood tests that test for malabsorption problems. In my reading I realized that the muscle problem could be an issue of biotin or a potassium deficiency. I had just read that the beginning of Vitamin B12 supplementation can cause a sudden potassium deficiency due to the production of new red blood cells. I had also spent lots of time trying to find out where Biotin and Potassium are absorbed (and produced)... Potassium deficiency also causes the rise of blood pressure and risks of heart attack. 

Do you notice that I haven't mentioned Vitamin D deficiency and muscle pain? Well, I hadn't seen that on the internet until just before I received the results. When I asked for the blood test appointment, I didn't ask for a Vitamin D exam. Somehow the attendent slipped that test in (which created a $100 dollar increase in cost). Truthfully, I didn't know what I needed there and entered the laboratory very confused, hoping they would know what to test for. I said, all the vitamin Bs, Iron and Potassium. They only tested for B12, Iron, Potassium and Vitamin D. My B12 was over the roof, my iron was acceptable, but low and my potassium was normal... However, my vitamin D was "insufficient"... When you look up Vitamin D deficiency and muscle pain while running, you find a ton of articles on Runners World and other professional exercise magazines explaining that what is considered an "insufficiency" is actually a "deficiency" that could lead to some very grave problems. Further reading shows that the RDA created by one of the "American" medical associations (that informs all the doctors of the world- the scales and the recommendations are used here in Mexico...) is way off, and if you have an insufficiency you are a decent amount of time at risk of stress fractures, heart attacks, breast, colon, prostate and stomach cancers, Alzheimer's Disease, depression, chronic fatigue and a whole number of auto-immune diseases...

Imagine, you were just put on BP medication and your (my) cardiologist just told you, "you will be on this medication all your life"... but no one tests your Vitamin D levels... Fine, the medication lowers your blood pressure artificially. However, your D deficiency combined with/causing a calcium deficiency and a phosphorus deficiency causes nerve damage, memory impairment, fatigue (which you probably think is what causes you to be mentally lax; and for how many years?). Drink your vitamin C, eat your vegetables and your fruits, drink your electrolyte drinks and your coffee... (And don't let ANYONE tell you that "coffee is high in Anti-Oxidents"; my father-in-law is a coffee farmer; originally an organic coffee farmer; my business is a travelling coffee bar. LISTEN TO ME CLEARLY: The coffee bean which we roast in order to use it in coffee, does NOT have anti-oxidents. What has the anti-Oxidents is the pulp surrounding the bean. The bean is removed from that wonderful pulp and the pulp is disposed of. If you want to sell anti-oxidents to producers of anti-oxident drinks, you would buy the ripe coffee "cherries", discard the bean and chemically extract the anti-oxidents from the coffee bean flesh and sell it at a nice price. But you will not find those anti-oxidents in brewed coffee -- SORRY NESTLE/Nescafe!)

Vitamin D deficiencies cause muscle fatigue and muscle spasms. Muscle fatigue leads to stress fractures, since the Skeletal muscle doesn't have the strength for protecting the bones from the constant pounding caused by running or other types of resistence training. A world class runner from California was beginning a marathon (5 miles into it), when a bone in her foot snapped. At first they (the doctors) didn't know what could be the issue. It turns out that she uses a lot of sunscreen due to skin cancer she has suffered. However, she has a good diet, is well trained, well informed. However, there are very few foods we injest that have sufficient levels of vitamin D... You must eat 2 servings of Salmon or Halibut or Tuna per day in order to maintain your Vitamin D levels. You would have to drink a lot of milk and eat a lot of cheese in order to maintain your daily levels. Plus, the RDA recommendation is very low (400-600 NDs) when it is advised that you injest 5,000 NDs per day... The RDA says that normal D levels are 20-50. Insufficient is 10-20. Deficiency is 0-10. However, when you are found with an insufficiency, your specialist (in the U.S.) suggests your taking as much as 10,000 NDs per day until your # reaches 55... It is suggested that healthy levels are between 50 and 70 and that 20-50 puts you at risk of 18 types of cancers, auto-immune diseases and other issues. The runner who "broke her foot" had my level: 18. The experts say that below 20 is an emergency situation. And, I'm "the only one" here in Guadalajara who believes this is an emergency situation. It is almost impossible to find Vitamin D supplements here. And those suppliments are 400 IUs... The only store here that sells Vitamin D is GNC (General Nutrition Centers). They sell D2 (which has all but been removed from the U.S. market) 400 IUs. here. In the U.S. they offer up to 15 different D options, all being D3, which is what is produced in our skin and all above 2,000 IUs up to 5,000 IUs...). Costco in the U.S. offers D suppliments of 1,000 and 2,000 IUs. Costco Mexico offers suppliments between 200 and 400 IUs... Now, if I need to take between 5,000 and 10,000 IUs per day for 6 weeks, how would I do that with 400IU capsules, that cost more than the 5,000IU capsules sold in the U.S.? Imagine that! And if I go to a specialist here? Even if they understood this, there is no way of obtaining the suppliments.

I've rambled on a ton and I'm sure I haven't offered you adequate information. However, I suggest you look up on Google, Vitamin D deficiency, cancer, muscle fatigue, Runners World, etc and you will find all the information you need.

I truthfully believe that we could remove a big hypertension issue placing a fraction of the HP cost into vitamin D supplimentation and possible regular stints in the sun (if you can do that dressed in just short shorts and a bikini top if you are a woman). However, if you are categorized as being at the very beginning of obesity (#30 on the scale), sunbathing will not help. Granted, if you are stocky (big boned or big muscled) it is probable that your doctor has not calculated your true # since, the height weight equation does not account for those with bigger bones or more extreme muscle mass. Ever since I was a child in elementary school I was told that, for my height, I was 5 pounds over weight. I will attach some photographs of myself from that period and you tell me if I was overweight. I am waiting for an Omron body mass scale, so I can know what is my true overweight-obesity. I have much bigger bones and a hell of a lot of "unintentional" muscle; I am not a body builder, but I have super muscular legs, gluteos and arms/shoulders. I've been told many times that I should compete as a body builder, since a little bit of training and my body explodes. However, truthfully, I don't want to look like a gorrilla... My fat quotient today is 30. I am qualified as Obese. However, I was running 4 kilometers (28-31 minutes) 4-5 times a week since August. In August I was running up to 45 minutes in a flat park 4 times per week. At any given day I can do 30 pushups, twice... I've always joked that, "I could become annorexic and they would still say I MUST lose weight if I don't wan't to risk heart attack...!" I wasn't able to attach a photograph due to size problems...

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